Swim~Shower~Stuff Bag

©Tracy Chapman & SewThankful Inc. May 2009. All Rights Reserved. This pattern/project tutorial is intended for personal use of the home sewer who has their own personal access to this website. At this time, this project is being provided online only for a limited time as a free tutorial.  There is no PDF available for this project.  No part of this pattern/project may be reproduced for any distribution purposes whatsoever–whether by group, entity or individual. The pictures and written instructions are not to be copied for distribution, reproduced for distribution, repackaged for distribution, distributed, circulated, given away or sold in any form or fashion. If you wish to share this project with others, please provide them with a link directly to this page. Permission is granted for individual home sewers/crafters to make and sell small quantities of the sewn/finished project. Each user assumes all risk and liability for use and end result of this project. Tracy L. Chapman & SewThankful Inc. shall have no liability with respect to loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this project.

Please read all instructions completely before cutting any materials or beginning the project.

2colormeshswimbag1

Finished bag – approximate measurements:

Top width – 14″  // Height – 16″  //  Boxed Bottom – 10″ wide x 4″ deep

Materials needed for 2 color bag:

  • Color #1 – 2 strips of vinyl mesh, each 5 1/2″ wide x 36″ long
  • Color #2 – 1 strip of vinyl mesh, 5 1/2″ wide x 36″ long

Materials needed for single color bag:

Additional Materials required to complete BOTH versions:

Step 1 – Piece the Mesh Strips

*If making single color bag, skip to Step 2

Use a 1/2″ seam allowance to piece together your strips, see pictures below – click images for larger pictures:

step1

Use a .5" seam allowance

finger press seam so that seam allowance will point away from center of bag

Finger press and roll seam flat from front so that seam allowance will point away from center of bag. Hint - a soup can or a firm cylinder of almost anything works great to roll and flatten the seam. I used a roll of decorative string.

Topstitch approximately 1/8" from seam line, making sure seam allowance points away from bag center

Top stitch approximately 1/8" from seam line, make sure seam allowance points away from bag center

Run a 2nd top stitch line parallel to and approximately 1/4" from the first top stitching.

Run a 2nd top stitch line parallel to and approximately 1/4" from the first top stitching.

step1d

Add optional zigzag or other decorative stitch between the top stitching lines -- this provides additional strength to the seams of the center panel and adds visual interest.

Repeat process with the other strip of mesh to form your panel.

Repeat process with the other strip of mesh to form your panel. Trim panel if necessary to measure 15 1/2" x 36"

Step 2 – Mark bag and Apply the Zipper

Helpful hints – refer to the blog tips on using coil zipper

Measure and mark with chalk or other NON-permanent marker 4 1/2″ down from top edge on both sides of the bag, as shown in picture below. NOTE: These marks are where the bag will fold over to form the top edge of the finished bag.  Use this information to determine which direction you prefer your zipper to zip — it’s your bag and the choice is yours.

Determine preferred zipper orientation, pin zipper in place along edge of mesh as shown (right side of zipper facing right side of mesh/bag).

Determine preferred zipper orientation. Pin zipper in place along edge of mesh as shown with approximately 1 1/2" of zipper tape extending beyond the edge of each side of mesh; right side of zipper facing right side of mesh/bag.

If you have one, change your machine presser foot to a zipper foot.  A zipper foot does make it easier but it is NOT necessary to put in a zipper.

Make sure zipper pull is extended past the edge of mesh and out of the way of your presser foot.  Sew first side of zipper on as shown.

Stitch slowly and remove pins as you approach them

Stitch slowly and remove pins as you approach them

Un-pin safety pin from one side of top of zipper, close and leave in place on the other side of zipper.  Carefully slide zipper back open.  Finger press seam allowance toward bag (away from zipper).

step2b

Top stitch approximately 1/4" from edge of zipper seam.

Re-secure safety pin to both sides of zipper tape and carefully pull zipper closed.

Pin other side of zipper to the other edge of vinyl mesh, right sides together.

Align zipper tape with opposite edge of vinyl mesh, stitch as shown.

Align zipper tape with opposite edge of vinyl mesh, stitch as shown removing pins as you approach them.

Un-pin safety pin from one side of top of zipper tape.  Move zipper pull backward, unzipping until you are past the edge of mesh, resting against the safety pin at the bottom of the zipper.

Finger press seam, pressing seam allowance away from the zipper, toward the bag.

Topstich just like you did on the previous side.

Topstich just like you did on the previous side.

Step 3 – Side Seams

Re-secure safety pin at zipper top.  With bag right sides together (wrong side facing you), close the zipper only 1/2 way across the bag as shown.

Find the chalk marks made previously (on each side, 4 1/2" from the mesh/zipper edge). Make a crease across these marks to form the bag top edge.

Find the chalk marks made previously (on each side, 4 1/2" from the mesh/zipper edge). Make a crease across these marks to form the bag top edge.

Find the chalk marks made previously (5" from the mesh/zipper edge) and crease; flatten all the way down the bag and fold/crease at bottom as shown.

Flatten smoothly all the way down the bag and fold/crease at bottom as shown.

Pin sides of the bag through mesh and zipper ends to prevent slipping or shifting as shown above.

With bag inside out and pinned at zipper ends in seam allowance, make sure zipper is at least 6″ open. Use 1/2″ seam allowance. Back stitch at beginning and end of seams to secure. Stitch each side of the bag. Use a wide zigzag to finish each side seam and provide additional security.

Carefully clip corners (do not clip any stitching). Trim off ends of zipper tape.

Carefully clip corners (do not clip any stitching). Trim off ends of zipper tape.

Step 4 – Box Bottom

Pinch and press side seam into bottom crease until they line up perfectly.  Flatten down as shown below.

Mark a line 2" from the point of the side seam.

Mark a line 2" from the point of the side seam.

Pin to secure.  Repeat on other side/bottom of bag.

Both sides of bag bottom marked and pinned.

Both sides of bag bottom marked and pinned.

Backstitch to secure at beginning and ending — stitch across each marked line.

Trim corners off to form 1/2″ edge.  Zigzag to finish and secure each seam allowance.

Reach in through zipper, turn bag right side out.  Work corners gently with fingers until they are crisp & sharp looking. Smooth and flatten top of bag.

Step 5 – Set Grommet

Measure to center top of bag, mark center with a straight pin.

Take out one side of the grommet pieces and lay at center top of bag.  Move it to the position you want it.  I like the top edge of the grommet to be about an inch or so from the top edge of the bag.

Once you determine where you want your grommet, mark the center of the grommet with a piece of marking chalk or other marker.

Once you determine where you want your grommet, mark the center of the grommet with a piece of marking chalk or other marker.

Follow grommet package instructions to apply grommet — it’s a SNAP!

Line up template crosshairs with center chalk mark.  Use marking chalk to mark the circle on the template stencil.

Line up template crosshairs with center chalk mark. Use marking chalk to mark the circle on the template stencil.

Using your craft knife and direct downward pressure over a cutting mat, cutt on the marked lines. Remove the cut-outs.

Using your craft knife and downward pressure over a cutting mat, cut on the marked lines -- remember, you are cutting through 2 layers of vinyl mesh. Remove the cut outs.

Test to see if grommet fits by placing raised center grommet piece into hole–you want a snug fit.  If circle is not quite big enough for grommet to fit, trim carefully with craft scissors until you have it just right…you want a snug fit.  The package directions are good, so be sure to keep and follow them.

If circle is not quite big enough for grommet to fit, trim carefully with small kids/craft scissors until you have it just right...you want a snug fit.  Then place grommet front and back and SNAP together firmly with your hand using downward pressure on a hard, flat surface.

Then place grommet front and back and SNAP together firmly with your hand using downward pressure on a hard, flat surface.

Now just snap on your jumbo carabiner and you are DONE!!

2colormeshswimbag1

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17 Responses to “Swim~Shower~Stuff Bag”

  1. variadee says:

    What a great idea! Thank you. Will make them for the grands. VBG

  2. Tracy says:

    Hi Karen,

    Typically I use a 90/14 Sharp, Topstitch or Embroidery Needle. I have not had any problems with the needle/thread cutting the vinyl mesh and many are several years old.

    Hope that helps.

    Tracy

  3. Karen McConnell says:

    I was wondering what size and kind of needle to use to sew the vinyl mesh with? I have seen a few things made from it, but was afraid a sharp needle would cut holes in the vinyl after awhile. And, I did not know what to use on it for sure. Any help from you would be much appreciated. Thanks, Karen

  4. Diane Williams says:

    Have you thought of selling your swim bag as kits or perhaps as finidhed product? Thanks, Diane

  5. Jan Squires says:

    What a great idea. Please add me to your email list.

  6. Francine says:

    Tracy,
    Thank you so much for another fun, simple and inexpensive idea. I will definitely make some in school colors for student and teacher gifts if i can find the right colors in the mesh.
    thanks again, francine

  7. Marsha says:

    I have gotten rave reveiws about this bag. I live in Florida and everyday is a beach day! Great project, I think the key is the right size needle, then it is easy to put together. Thanks for the idea.

  8. Nicole says:

    This is a super design and so easy to make. Thanks very much for the pattern. I *improved* your design slightly, adding an outside pocket to the centre section and a small coin/key pocket to the inside, just below the zipper.

    How I added the outside pocket: make a strip 5.5″ wide by however long the leftover material was. Hem both ends. Lay it on top of the centre piece, hem down, approx 5.5″ from one end of the longer piece. This should allow the outside pocket to be centred on the bag once it is all finished. Continue with Tracy’s fantastic instructions!

    Thanks again – if my mom doesn’t like this, I will take it back and use it myself!

  9. Francine says:

    Looks like fun.

  10. Jann Loudin says:

    Tracy, Thanks for sharing your talents. I am new to your site and I love it. I can’t wait to sew up a few of these bags. Thanks for the instructions with the zippers. I am totally hooked.

  11. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing your creativity! I am going to make one of these before swim season arrives here in Virginia!

  12. Moira, UK says:

    Thanks for yet another brilliant looking pattern! I asked my daughter if she would like one of these bags as she swims regularly. I sent her the blog so that she could see it and she just replied that she thought it looked great – and could she also request one for her husband! So I will be ordering enough mesh for two at least! Thanks, again.

  13. anne wolf says:

    Tracy, Thank you so much for a wonderful site.I look forward to it every Sunday morning to see what you have for us. Thank you so much for the free pattern. It will come in handy for gifts.

  14. Patty S says:

    awesome can’t wait until I come back from my holidays I am making a few of these. Thank you Tracy

  15. VickiT says:

    Great job on the tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing it with us as well.

  16. Jacki B says:

    What a great pattern/idea!!!! Your instructions were very clear and concise. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Virginia says:

    Tracy, Thank you for sharing your pattern for this bag. It is a really great idea! I am sure my dd will love this for camp this summer. Best wishes to you. Virginia

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